Migration Narratives: The SHRAM Blog

The largest migration stream in the developing bloc

Since Bangladesh came into existence in 1971, India has been the recipient of its overgrowing population which finds itself out of place and livelihood in the former Muslim nation state.

At present, migration from Bangladesh is a combined result of social, economic, political and environmental factors. However, according to a UN report on Climate Change, the citizens of Bangladesh remain vulnerable to rising sea levels, which could turn out to be the main determinant for large exodus in future.

UN projections indicate that a sea level rise of 0.5 meters could see Bangladesh lose approximately 11 per cent of its land by 2050, which would affect around 15 million people. Climate migration to urban areas, such as Dhaka, has already begun as Bangladeshis flee desertification in the north, and floods and soil degradation caused by rising sea levels in the south.

According to 2001 census, out of the five million documented Indian migrants living in India, three million were from Bangladesh. Given the age of this data, it is unlikely to reflect any large-scale climate migration, but the final 2011 census results will undoubtedly reflect a climate-induced increase in Bangladeshi migration to India. As a matter of fact, the nation ranked sixth on the list 2011 UN World Risk Index-the highest in South Asia.

Migration taps into deep anxieties, including demographic change and increased competition over limited natural resource like water and land. India has already started to experience the impacts of climate-induced migration from Bangladesh. The likely outcome will be to split the economies of Indian and Bangladeshi border states, with flow-on effects for places at a higher elevation, given the unpreparedness of both these countries.


Aritra Chakrabarty

Aritra Chakrabarty

Anchor, SHRAM (Till Dec 31st, 2014)

As a social researcher, I believe in knowledge-based policy action. With a postgraduate degree in Development Studies, I've been associated with social issues in my professional space. As a part of SHRAMIC initiative, was involved with data creation, sourcing of resources that will become the knowledge bank of this project.
Aritra Chakrabarty

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